Scholarship Funds

The mission of OHPRI is to provide innovative and empowering education-at-sea programs that promote personal and professional growth. We support this through a variety of scholarship funds, all of which are detailed below.

If you wish to allocate your donation to a specific fund, please be sure to indicate it in the section marked " Add special instructions to the seller" when making your donation on the paged linked to the “Donate” button.


VADM Thomas R. Weschler Professional Development Fund

Crew Development fund, in honor of VADM Thomas Weschler, our founding chairman and leading visionary. This fund provides financial assistance to our professional crew to maintain, as well as advance, their USCG licenses to ensure the highest safety standards aboard. Already, these funds have helped 15 crew advance to the next stage of licensing, growing in their roles and positions aboard


Captain Wagner Honorary Scholarship Fund

Sadly after a courageous battle with Mesothelioma, Captain Virginia Wagner passed away on January 30th, 2015. With the help and support of her long-time partner and shipmate Jamie Stark, and her family and friends, she pursued every possible treatment. One of the most interesting aspects of her life experience was her involvement as both a student and a Captain in sail training on Tall Ships. She passionately believed that those experiences helped turn her life around and that it can do the same for other young people.

To honor Virginia’s contributions to sail training for students, tall ships and yachting in general, we are pleased to announce the Captain Virginia Wagner Honorary Scholarship Fund. This scholarship fund will be used to help young sailors attend the various programs offered by OHPRI . Many of Virginia's friends and family have already donated to this worthy cause and we hope that the benefits of these programs will attract ongoing support for years to come.

Click here to read more about the scholarship as well as see photos from our event honoring Captain Wagner, and celebrating the launch of this scholarship.

Photo credit: Nonni Sansoucy

Photo credit: Nonni Sansoucy

David D Blair Memorial Fund

David Blair was a lifelong sailor and supporter of OHP and friend and contributor to our Capt. Virginia Wagner scholarship fund.

Born in Providence, RI, on June 6, 1931, Dave attended Northeastern University in Boston, MA, graduating in 1954 with a B.A. in Mechanical Engineering. His career began in Grand Prairie, TX, as a Test Engineer for Chance Vought Aircraft Co., eventually establishing his own company, Blair Engineering, Inc. in 1965. He held the position of Chairman and CEO for 28 years and continued as Chairman Emeritus until his death.

Dave dedicated his life to community service in the Dallas, TX suburb of Farmers Branch and the surrounding area. In 1992, he was appointed to the City Council and was elected to three additional terms before being elected Mayor in 1988, serving until 1996.

In addition to his service as an elected official, Dave dedicated himself to civic, charitable, and educational pursuits. He and his late wife Lorraine established the Lorraine and Dave Blair Scholarship Fund for worthy local High School students. He served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, Metroplex Mayors’ Association, and the Rotary Club, and he was the founding Chairman of the North Texas Tollway Authority Board of Directors.

In 2015, Dave was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Farmers Branch Chamber of Commerce. He was also recognized as Metrocrest Citizen of the Year in 1993. In 2002, the new Dave Blair Elementary School was named in his honor.

Dave spent many happy days playing golf, skiing, and flying his Beechcraft airplane. He was an avid sailor and loved traveling the world with his friends and family.

Dave had a special connection to the Oliver Hazard Perry Education-at-Sea programs through his friend Captain Virginia Wagner and now through his son-in-law Jim. The “David D. Blair Memorial Fund” has been established to help young sailors attend our programs and experience the adventure and life changing experience of our education-at-sea programs.  Know that his (and your) generosity will live on through the hundreds of kids whose lives are transformed by those programs.


Brendan KellEy Scholarship FUND

We were deeply saddened by the loss of our Summer Fundraising Co-Chair in 2018, Brendan Kelley, on May 18, 2018. He was a founding board member, ardent supporter and dear friend of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, as well as the Newport Community. Brendan's support, dedication and belief in our mission helped turn our vision into what OHPRI is today. 






Capt. Eric Shaw Scholarship Fund

Dr. Eric John Shaw, Captain, USCG (ret.) 58, of Newport, RI, died unexpectedly at home Tuesday, March 29, 2016. He was the husband of Adrienne Corbeille Shaw and the very proud father of Erin Rene Shaw. Born in Tulsa, OK, on August 1, 1957, Eric is the son of Kathleen Sweeney Shaw of Alexandria, VA, and the late John Reese Shaw.

Professor Shaw joined the faculty of the Naval War College in Newport following his retirement from the U.S. Coast Guard as Captain of “America’s Tall Ship” Coast Guard Barque EAGLE.

Eric’s positive spirit, humor, knack for great sea stories, and intellectual curiosity was respected and enjoyed by many in his community. He has been serving on the Board of Directors of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, Tall Ships America and of the Potter League for Animals.


STAR Kids Scholarship Fund

Our goal is to take at least 10 STAR kids sailing every summer on our teen summer camp programs. The mission of the Star Kids Scholarship Program is to provide educational opportunities in the form of tuition aid to effective non-public schools, uniforms, after-school and summer programs, tutoring and mentoring for those highrisk, low-income children who have a parent with a history of incarceration and/or substance abuse. Children are typically enrolled in the program between kindergarten and grade 4. Star Kids' goal for each child is to graduate from high school. By completing high school and hopefully going on to higher education, these children will have a greater chance of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty, drug use, disease, depression and violence. Star Kids serves children from the following communities: Newport County, RI, Fall River, MA, New Bedford, MA.

  The Oliver Hazard Perry Scholarships Fund 

Scholarship Funds to offer assistance for student trainees in financial need, thus making our programs accessible to all walks of youth. So far we have helped 60 trainees join our programs.